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Canadian charity donates seeds to SVG farmers

Canadian charity donates seeds to SVG farmers
Farmers who were present at the Fisheries Complex for the handing over of the seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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Several local farmers on Thursday were the recipients of a quantity of vegetable seeds donated by West Coast Seeds through the Canadian organisation, ‘Still Kicking’.

Canadian charity donates seeds to SVG farmers
Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar (right) speaking after receiving the donation of seeds

Dwight Anderson who is the Community Outreach Worker for Still Kicking, said the organisation is basically a church charity.

At the hand over ceremony held at the conference room of the Fisheries Complex, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Ceasar said Consul General Fitz Huggins was instrumental in initiating the donation, and the Ministry of Agriculture has determined not only how the seeds will be distributed but also “the issue of marketing the produce”.

Caesar said a conversation will be held “with the hotels, with the private sector, since many of these vegetables that we are going to produce will be purchased by the supermarkets and the hotels.”

He explained that over the past two weeks the relationship was cemented with Still Kicking “and they reached out to a company, a well-known company in Canada by the name of West Coast Seeds. This company has pledged to contribute a large quantity of seeds to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to assist our farmers.”

Minister Caesar added that “What is very interesting about this donation from West Coast seeds is that many of the varieties that are here, are new to the country.”

Further he said “What we are advancing is that we do not believe that the future of agriculture resides with the Chief or the Minister, or the Permanent Secretary, or the Ministry of Agriculture, but the private sector and farmers … you must rise and start to take the lead, and we will always be there to support you.”

Anderson and his family, are expected to be in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for about 90 days.

He commended the government for the smooth facilitation of the seed donation, explaining “this is the minimal donation that we could bring, and we are looking to bring the maximum donation the next time.”

Canadian charity donates seeds to SVG farmers
DWIGHT ANDERSON

Anderson was born in Jamaica but moved to Canada in 1974 at the age of four years old. He said his grandfather was the head of the Manchester office of Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture.

“I love farming; I love the soil and in Canada even in the winter I plant in a green house. To see the skill of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ farmer, how you manipulate the landscape, how you deal with the climate and the soil. I am very impressed. I am here as your brother, I am here as your servant.”

With his wife and two children sitting next to him, Anderson said that “We are all here to help the country, to gain a strong foothold with respect to food sovereignty, crop diversity, and also with respect to bolstering the GDP via the strategy used to maximize the use of these seeds.”

He said this consignment was around 12 boxes but “We are looking to bring the next time about 100, 200 boxes,” towards year end.
WINFA already has received a quantity of seeds and some will be provided to the Agricultural Input Warehouse to offer to other farmers.
IICA is also expected to host a distribution of seeds next week.

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